cloacal theory

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In psychoanalysis, a sexual theory, often adopted by children, that confuses the female vagina and the anus, recognizing only one orifice that is believed to function as a birth canal and also for defecation and coitus. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) first referred to it in 1908 in an article ‘On the Sexual Theories of Children’ (Standard Edition, IX, pp. 209–26). According to Freud, children of both sexes tend to believe that ‘the baby must be evacuated, like a piece of excrement, like a stool’ (p. 219). Also called cloaca theory. [From cloaca the pelvic cavity of most vertebrates, apart from higher mammals, into which both the alimentary canal and the genital ducts open, from Latin cloaca a sewer, from Greek klyzein to wash out]

Subjects: Psychology.

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